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76ers end 26-game losing streak with 123-98 victory over Pistons

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia 76ers avoided setting the longest losing streak in U.S. major professional sports history by routing the Detroit Pistons 123-98 on Saturday to end their winless stretch at a record-equaling 26 games.

Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young each scored 21 points for the 76ers, who won for the first time in exactly two months and did it with surprising ease, leading by as much as 32 points. They also ended an 18-game home losing streak, which was one shy of another NBA record.

Beaten badly a number of times during their skid, the 76ers got to experience life on the other side, ringing up a season-high 70 points in the first half.

Their 26 straight losses equaled the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and also the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who dropped 26 straight from Sept. 12, 1976-Dec. 4, 1977.

Henry Sims added 16 points for the Sixers, who hadn't won before their home crowd since beating Charlotte on Jan. 15. Fans were into it from the start and grew louder throughout, standing and cheering for the final 45 seconds.

Greg Monroe had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons.

At Houston, Chris Paul had 30 points and 12 assists and Jamal Crawford added 22 points as the Los Angeles Clippers clinched a club-record third straight playoff appearance by beating the Rockets 118-107.

Houston was without injured starters Dwight Howard and Pat Beverley.

It wasn't all good for Los Angeles. Blake Griffin left in the first quarter with back spasms and didn't return, and Glen Davis missed the second half for disciplinary reasons after throwing a temper tantrum in the second quarter.

James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points and Chandler Parsons had 28.

San Antonio's Marco Belinelli scored 18 points as the Spurs never trailed after its opening possession to extend its winning streak to 17 games with a 96-80 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili scored 15 points each, Patty Mills added 13 and Tim Duncan had 12 points and eight rebounds.

San Antonio (57-16) extended its lead to 3 and a half games over Oklahoma City (53-19) for the league's best record.

Reserve guard Brian Roberts had 18 points to lead New Orleans (32-41).

The Washington Wizards inched closer to its first playoff spot since 2008 after John Wall scored 25 points and Drew Gooden had 16 in a 101-97 win over Atlanta.

Washington entered the game needing a win and a loss by the New York Knicks on Sunday to make the playoffs.

In other games, Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points as the Dallas Mavericks avoided a potentially serious blow to its playoff hopes by beating the Sacramento Kings 103-100, while the Miami Heat wrapped up a three-game trip through the Midwest with an 88-67 victory over Milwaukee Bucks.

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Fans hold signs after the Philadelphia 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 29. (AP)

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